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GDC 2016: Diablo's UI was designed to pass the 'Mom Test'

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GDC 2016: Diablo's UI was designed to pass the 'Mom Test'

Post by TheHidden01 on Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:47 pm


David Brevik, one of the original co-founders of Blizzard North and probably best known to MMO players for his long tenure at the helm of Marvel Heroes, gave a talk at GDC that sheds new light on the birth of the Diablo franchise just in time for its 20th birthday.

Brevik told the audience he came up with the idea for a turn-based roguelike — Diablo — in high school and pitched the idea around, only to be told no one wanted to invest in RPGs because “RPGs are dead.” But post-Warcraft Blizzard eventually took on the publishing rights and turned it into a real-time ARPG that struggled with cheating, invented the hotbar, and needed to pass the “mom test.” You hear that, hardcores? (And can we please stop using that term?)


Brevik also discusses the bidding war over his company (he merged into Blizzard because of the culture rather than sell for twice as much money) and how he missed out on a chance to invest in Hotmail before anyone knew it was going to explode into a $40M company.

The lesson? There might be money to be made off all those journals you filled with doodles and design concepts instead of paying attention in class… at least if you’ve got Brevik’s talent.

There’s an interesting footnote to the talk: During the Q&A after Brevik’s presentation, an attendee handed him 40 bucks — in payment, he said, for the copy of Diablo he’d pirated back in 1996.

TH

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